Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thomas Family Minestrone

Okay so this recipe is a game changer, nay a life changer. Get ready for the transformation that is about to be. This recipe has until this day, been a secret family recipe that has been perfected by my brother Jeremy and has been turned gluten free by yours truly. It has adorned our kitchen table nearly every single Christmas day for our traditional big italian Christmas dinner. I have hesitated to post this recipe due to the special significance it holds in our family. This is the first time it has ever graced the internet (not even in an email) and somehow I feel like a traitor but to keep up with technology and to preserve this recipe for future generations, I'm going to post it. Family please forgive me.

Here is what you need. Understand that this is for a larger party size that you share with friends and family. But you are only a family of four? Have no fear, it freezes very well and you will love the leftovers so there may be nothing left to freeze. You can always halve this recipe if needs be too. This meal is notorious for being one of those recipes that is Oh-So-Much better the next day after flavors have melded. Seriously please don't even taste in until after a day. Anyways, you will need:

2 cans garbonzo beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans kernel corn
1 large can italian stewed tomatoes

1 small can of crushed tomatoes or petite diced tomatoes
12-16 cups Beef Stock (make sure the brand you choose contains no modified food starch/ gluten, I prefer Kitchen Basics. Please note that although most Better than Bullion varieties are safe, Beef is NOT gluten free)
4-5 small zucchini
1/2 head of green cabbage
1 extra large white onion

2 large handfuls of green beans snapped into  1-2 inch peices (optional and only if in season but do not used canned)
1 lb gluten free corn spaghetti pasta (broken into 1 inch pieces)
2 cups shredded fresh parmesean reggiano cheese
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground fresh italian sausage (ask the butcher to make sure it is GF)
2 eggs
1 can italian bread crumbs approximately 2-3 cups ( Use gf bread crumbs and mix with Italian spices until fragrant or make you own with gf croutons in your Blendtech or food processor)
Crushed red pepper
6-8 cups DRY red wine

3 Cloves Garlic
1-2 cups Worcestershire sauce (gf)
1 TB dried Oregano

Garlic Salt

I know, I know I'm using very broad measurements here. Unfortunately this recipe works that way. Start small then add more and more as it cooks down.
To start add all fresh veggies (reserving 1/4 of the white onion for later) and cans to a very large stock pot. Be sure to add in the liquid from the cans from everything but the kidney beans which you can rinse. Add in 1 cup of gluten free Worcestershire Sauce (at the time this was posted Lea & Perrins is gluten free and French's is NOT), Add 4 cups of dry red wine (my rule of thumb is the cheaper the wine, the better it is for cooking. I like to use a Cabernet Sauvignon for this recipe), and 8 cups of beef stock and bring to a boil. While the pot is starting to boil add in your dried oregano, and a 3-4 dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried red pepper. Let this concoction simmer at a shallow boil for up to two hours. As it starts to boil down a bit add the remaining liquid as needed up and in even ratios up to 4 cups of dry red wine, 8 cups of beef stock, and 1 cup worcestershire sauce to taste.

While your stockpot is boiling you are going to start making the meatballs. In a large bowl combine with your hands the italian sausage, ground turkey, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, and a few dashes each of garlic salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon, 1/4 grated onion. Now add another dash or two extra of cinnamon and nutmeg. Do not make these with out the nutmeg and cinnamon. Believe it or not, those two spices in the meatballs, make the soup. It is absolutely not the same without those spices. Add in one egg and check the consistency. If it sticks together very well and you can form small meatballs that stay together keep there form stop here. Otherwise add in one more egg. Form small meatballs between the size of a quarter and a half dollar. Once all meatballs are formed, slowly drop in the meat balls to the boiling soup mixture and continue cooking for a half hour. Once they have been in for a half hour take out a meatball and cut in half to ensure they are cooked throughout. If you are going to serve this soup tomorrow, turn off the heat and cool slightly before refrigerating, adding the spaghetti when you are warming the soup the next day. If you are going to serve this recipe today add in your spaghetti that is cut into 1-2 inch pieces and continue cooking for another 10 minutes before removing from heat to allow a little time to rest before serving. Again I strongly suggest cooking this a day in advance so that the flavor melds properly. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan Reggiano cheese on each bowl. From my family to yours, Enjoy!

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